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Obama's Genocide Expert meets Mahinda Rajapaksa

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 June 2010, 13:58 GMT]
Samantha Power, Director of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the National Security Council in the Obama administration, David Pressman, Director for war crimes atrocities and civilian protection of the US National Security Council, and Ms. Patricia A Butenis Ambassador of the US Embassy in Sri Lanka met with Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse Tuesday, reports from Colombo said. “The meeting was cordial and friendly and both sides discussed matters of mutual interest,” Daily mirror said quoting statement from Sri Lanka President’s office.

Professor G.L. Peiris Minister of External Affairs and Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga also took part in the discussion, according to the paper.

Samantha Power, author of
Samantha Power, author of "A Problem from Hell"
David Pressman
David Pressman
Ms. Power has been conspicuously silent until now on foreign policy matters. Observers attribute the silence to her marriage and the onset of pregnancy during the critical period when mass slaughter is alleged to have taken place in Sri Lanka.

Ms. Power married Cass Sunstein, a Harvard University law professor and a constitutional scholar, on July 4th, 2008, and took time off to have her first child on 24th April 2009.

Ms. Power won a Pulitzer for "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," her book about America's response to genocide. In the book she argues that American foreign policy in this area has failed; we promised "never again" after the Holocaust but willfully ignored genocides in Cambodia, Iraq, Bosnia, and Rwanda. She was a key player in starting the Save Darfur movement.

A spokesperson for the US-based activist group Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) told TamilNet, “the visit of Samantha Power and Mr Pressman to Sri Lanka amidst increasing calls by international community for war crimes investigations in Sri Lanka is very significant. Ms. Power has been an outspoken critic of the western institutions and the past US Governments for inaction and empty rhetoric against rights violations and crimes amounting to genocide, crimes very similar to what Sri Lanka has allegedly committed against Tamil civilians. Unlike politically motivated visits taken by UN Officials, this visit by Ms. Power, TAG believes, should be seen as a serious development inside the US administration on its internal war-crimes investigations. Also, Tamil expatriates are waiting to see if Power lives by her words in Problem from Hell, or has herself succumbed to the force of political expediency.”

Samantha Power was earlier the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy, based at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, where she was the founding executive director [1998-2002]. She is the recent author of Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (Penguin Press, 2008), a biography of the UN envoy killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2003. Her book "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide (New Republic Books) was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, and the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in U.S. foreign policy.

Power's New Yorker article on the horrors in Darfur, Sudan, won the 2005 National Magazine Award for best reporting. In 2007, Power became a foreign policy columnist at Time magazine. From 1993 to 1996 she covered the wars in the former Yugoslavia as a reporter for the U.S. News and World Report, the Boston Globe, and The New Republic. She remains a working journalist, reporting from such places as Burundi, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, and contributing to the Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. Power is the editor, with Graham Allison, of Realizing Human Rights: Moving from Inspiration to Impact. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, she moved to the United States from Ireland at the age of nine. She spent 2005 to 2006 working in the office of Senator Barack Obama.

Following is the press statement issued by the US Embassy in Colombo:

Senior White House Officials Visiting Sri Lanka

Colombo, June 15, 2010: Two senior foreign policy advisors to President Obama are visiting Sri Lanka from June 14-18. Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President on Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights and David Pressman, National Security Council Director for War Crimes and Atrocities, will meet with senior government officials and members of civil society in Colombo, Jaffna, and Batticaloa. The visit aims to continue last month’s productive dialogue between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, in which both leaders discussed Sri Lanka’s path through economic renewal, accountability, and reconciliation to greater peace, prosperity, and a stronger partnership with the United States.


Chronology:


Related Articles:
12.05.09   White House protest accuses Sri Lanka of civilian massacre
15.04.09   Sri Lanka, 'Obama's first problem from hell,' ICP says


External Links:
DB: Obama Hires a Clooney Confidant
Wiki: Cass Sunstein

 

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